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Toyota Prius Drivers Can Now Cruise In California's Carpool Lanes
08/11/2005 Torrance, CA

Toyota Prius drivers can now apply for Clean Air Vehicle stickers from the Department of Motor Vehicles that allow them to drive with only one occupant in California's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.

"This is truly a validation of hybrid technology and its benefits," said Jim Press, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. President and Chief Operating Officer. "Prius owners can now enjoy the freedom of driving in carpool lanes by themselves and knowing they're getting high fuel mileage and generating fewer emissions at the same time."

The Toyota Prius is the world's first and best-selling hybrid passenger car. Powered by Toyota's unique Hybrid Synergy Drive, the Prius is 90 percent cleaner for smog-forming emissions than the average vehicle and has an EPA fuel estimate of 55 miles per gallon combined city/highway.

At low speeds, the Prius is powered by an electric motor. As speed increases, a gasoline engine seamlessly takes over. When drivers slow or brake, the energy is regenerated into the battery so it never needs to be charged or to be plugged in.

The Prius has been on sale in California since 2000 and nearly 60,000 have been sold through July 2005 by California dealers.

Access to California's carpool lanes is the second significant benefit for Prius drivers recently announced. The Energy Bill that recently passed Congress includes incentives ranging from $2,000-$3,000 for Toyota's hybrid vehicles beginning January 1, 2006.
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